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Police officers harass newspaper vendors, close printing house in DRC

AP Photo/Christine Nesbitt

In a letter sent on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 to the Deputy Prime Minister in Charge of the Interior and Security, Evariste Boshab, JED demanded that explanations and sanctions be taken regarding the harassment of small newspaper vendors by a squad of police officers, which occurred on Monday, July 13, 2015 in the streets of Kinshasa, and which resulted in the confiscation of a significant amount of newspapers as well as the arrest of a distributor and of two printing workers.

In the absence of any official justification for this outright attack on the press, unworthy of a constitutional state, JED has denounced this barbaric act, which cannot go unpunished and must not be repeated. "Taking into account the gravity of the acts perpetrated by the security agents meant to act under your orders, JED demands explanations and sanctions against those responsible for these heinous acts, as well as the immediate release of the people arbitrarily arrested by your services", states the letter.

According to the information checked by JED, a police jeep with armed officers on board surprised several newspaper distributors gathered at one of its selling sites in the Kasa-Vubu district on the morning of Monday, July 13, 2015. After having stormed the area, these police officers seized a man named Dido Zamagnwana, then in possession of the latest edition of the "C-News" newspaper, bearing the headline: "Irreversible change for 2016: Obama and his new message to Kabila, transmitted by his special envoy to the Great Lakes area".

Once inside the vehicle, the law enforcement officers used threats to make Dido Zamagnwama divulge the address of the printing site of the "C-News" newspaper. After arriving at the site, the officers proceeded to arrest two of the printing workers present in the facilities, before sealing the printing house doors.

According to the latest information received by JED, all persons arrested were taken to sites belonging to the NIA (National Intelligence Agency).

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